That sinking feeling: A legal assessment of the coastal planning system in new South Wales

Zada Lipman, Robert Stokes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent evidence indicates that the New South Wales coast faces increasing risks from erosion and inundation as a consequence of the enhanced greenhouse effect and rising sea levels. At the same time, a rapidly expanding population in coastal New South Wales is fuelling demands for more subdivision and development. Both of these trends are increasing the likelihood and quantum of damage to private property in oceanfront or low-lying locations along the coast. An escalating threat of damage generates an increase in the likelihood of claims against public authorities with responsibility for land-use planning in coastal areas. This article examines the measures New South Wales has adopted to deal with coastal erosion and climate change flood risks. An analysis of recent initiatives, including the legislative changes to the Coastal Protection Act 1979 (NSW) and the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW), as well as a case study of coastal erosion at Belongil Beach, will be undertaken to assess the efficacy of the current system. The article then considers the capacity of current measures to protect public authorities from future litigation arising from land-use planning decisions on the New South Wales coast. Finally, the article offers some suggestions for replacing the current system with an integrated sustainable coastal planning framework.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)182-200
    Number of pages19
    JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    Dive into the research topics of 'That sinking feeling: A legal assessment of the coastal planning system in new South Wales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this